The Trusted Adviser February 2011 | Volume 4 • Number 1

Update from ATG Administration

Electronic Fraud Increasingly Targets Lawyers' Escrow Accounts: A Dangerous Threat to You and Your Clients
by Jerry T. Gorman, ATG Senior Vice President

Internet fraud schemes are increasingly targeting lawyers and the banks where lawyers have their client trust accounts. We cannot understate the importance of educating yourself and your staff, fine-tuning your internal security, and protecting your practice and your clients' funds from these schemes.

ATG's newest 24/7OnDemandprogram,Lawyer-Title Agent Escrow Accounts: Current Banking Issues, Fraud, Liability, and Internal Control, gives a detailed overview of what's out there, and what lawyers need to know.


If you weren't able to attend the live presentations at our 2010 Harold I. Levine Real Estate Institute in Chicago last November or viaConnectin early December, we encourage you not to miss this opportunity — Earn 1.50 credits without leaving your office and at your conventience.

While many scams appear questionable and are easily ignored, there are an increasing number of cases throughout the country where lawyers have fallen prey to scams resulting in the loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars out of their respective trust accounts. We are aware of at least two recent cases of Illinois attorney-title agents who have suffered serious losses through Internet banking scams, including a very sophisticated diversion of wired funds to the wrong account.

Please read this notice from the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission (ARDC),E-Mail Scams and Lawyer Trust Accounts. It outlines a variation of the scam for title insurance companies and agents where the foreign buyer purchasing property in multiple jurisdictions sends a very large check for the earnest money on an Illinois transaction with instructions to deposit the check to the title company account, then wires the excess to the buyer's representative in another state for a transaction there. Not surprisingly, sometime after the wire is sent the original check is found to be fraudulent. The article also lists red flags, tips on how to avoid Internet scams, what to do if you think you've received a counterfeit check, and where to turn if you have questions.







THE TRUSTED ADVISER is published by Attorneys’ Title Guaranty Fund, Inc., P.O. Box 9136, Champaign, IL 61826-9136. Inquiries may be made directly to Mary Beth McCarthy, Corporate Communications Manager. ATG®, ATG® plus logo, are marks of Attorneys’ Title Guaranty Fund, Inc. and are registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The contents of the The Trusted Adviser © Attorneys' Title Guaranty Fund, Inc.

[Last update: 12-16-10]